15 Hacks for Saving BIG at Target

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I LOVE deal shopping at Target as they offer up lots of fantastic deals! BUT, you’ll definitely want to know how to use your coupons correctly and know what to look for while shopping to get the best bang for your buck. Whether you’re a new or seasoned Target shopper, check out these tips first

1.) Know the Markdown Schedule

Most Target stores follow a schedule where they mark down certain departments for clearance on specific days. Knowing the schedule before stepping foot in store can help you find the best deals, but keep in mind that the markdown schedule may vary by store, so be sure to ask your local store about their schedule.

Here’s just one possible markdown schedule…
  • Monday: Electronics, Kids’ & Baby Clothing, Stationery/Office Supplies
  • Tuesday: Women’s and Juniors Clothing, Domestics
  • Wednesday: Men’s Clothing, Food, Health & Beauty, Lawn & Garden, Furniture, Laundry
  • Thursday: Toys, Pets, Housewares, Lingerie/ Sleepwear, Athletic Apparel, Shoes, Sporting Goods, Paper Goods, Decor, Luggage
  • Friday: Auto, Scarves, Cosmetics, Jewelry, Hardware

2.) Download the Target App

The Target App (for iOS or Android) now has Cartwheel offers and a Wallet feature, making it easy to save and pay while on your Target Run. The Target App helps you plan your trip, save on your list, shop and order from anywhere, and save and pay in one place with the new Wallet tab.

You can also use the Target App to search the entire online Target and in-store product selection to easily find deals, weekly sales, availability, aisle location, and ordering options – you can even scan product barcodes in-store to see if something’s on sale or has a Cartwheel offer!

3.) Browse the Clearance Endcaps FIRST

Clearance, clearance, clearance! If you’re looking for the best bargains, be sure to browse the shelves at the ends of the aisles that have red “Clearance” signs. Most of the clearance endcaps are facing the store walls (not those located down the main walking aisles) and are often filled with various items that have been marked down from 15% to 70% off. Plus, they can make for sweeter deals when paired with coupons and occasional Cartwheel Offers that do not exclude clearance!

4.) Watch for YELLOW Clearance Tags

Clearance items will first get marked down by 15% or 30%, then to 50% off, and finally to 70% or 90% off. These items now have a yellow “clearance” sticker that shows the regular price, the clearance price, the 9 digit DCPI item number and the percentage of the markdown in the top right-hand corner.

Check the small number in the top right corner of the price tag. If it says “50”, it’s been marked to 50% off, if it says “70”, it’s been marked down to 70% off, etc. The only exception is holiday or seasonal merchandise, which can go as high as 90% off (the code will be “90” in the corner).

Note that some clearance items no longer reflect the percent discount in the upper corner.

5.) Check Inventory Before Making a Special Trip

Before you spend time packing up the kiddos and spend money driving over to your local Target to snag a possible clearance deal, consider using an Inventory Checker to see if your store has any in stock and what the current price is. Go here for details on how to check inventory at your store.

NOTE: Sometimes these inventory systems can be wrong due to theft, loss, and other circumstances, so it’s always best to call your local store and ask them to hold an item for you.

6.) Look for Target Gift Card Promos

Promotions to watch for while shopping or while flipping through the weekly ads are Target’s Gift Card deals. These gift card promotions may last for a week, month, or even longer and may even be posted inside the store but not in the circular – so you’ll want to be on the lookout!

PLUS, you can use manufacturer’s coupons, store coupons, Cartwheels, and rebate offers on gift card promos to sweeten them even further!

NOTE – Target now adjusts down any coupons if your out-of-pocket cost will be LOWER after coupons than the gift card you are getting back. That means you can’t score money-makers on gift card offers as the coupons/offers will be adjusted down to the amount of the gift card offer.

7.) Take Advantage of REDcard Perks

Target’s REDcard is an easy way to save more on Target purchases. It offers 5% off at the register on your entire bill, free shipping on every order at Target.com and an extra 30 days to return items.

Don’t like the idea of having a credit card? Consider signing up for the Debit card instead of the credit version for the same perks, no annual fee and no credit check required. The Debit card is tied to your existing checking account so you can also withdraw up to $40 at checkout in-store.

8.) Stack the Savings

Target lets you stack multiple coupons, as well as use your Target REDcard for increased savings. According to their coupon policy, they allow using one manufacturer coupon, one Target store coupon (paper or digital), and one Cartwheel offer per item, unless prohibited by a coupon.

In addition, Target often releases threshold or category coupons (i.e. $10 off $40 pet care purchase) that can also be used together with Target store coupons for specific items ($1/1 Purina product). Although, keep in mind that you cannot combine category coupons (i.e. $5 off $25 pet care items and $10 off $50 pet items) unless you reach the threshold for each coupon.

You can find Target store coupons on Target.com, by texting from your mobile device and in your Sunday Newspaper Inserts.

9.) Know How Discounts are Applied at Checkout

When heading to checkout, it’s important to know how the discounts will be applied, especially if you’re using multiple coupons. You no longer need to hand over your coupons in a certain order, but you’ll want to note how the discounts will be deducted so you’ll be able to keep up with your total.

Here’s the order that the savings will come off…

  1. Target Store Coupons ($0.50/1 Tide Pods 18ct+)
  2. Cartwheel Offers (5% off baby food)
  3. Manufacturer Coupons ($2/1 package of Huggies diapers)
  4. Target Threshold Coupons (spend $20 on dog food, get $5 off)
  5. Target REDcard Savings (5% off everything)

Afterwards, you can even submit for cash back rebates via the various free apps available to save even more – such as Ibotta and Checkout51!

10.) Shop Seasonal Clearance Sales

Season Clearance (Back to School)

Stock up for future holidays by shopping a few days or weeks after the holiday has passed. The day after the holiday, select items will be reduced by 50% off (usually only 30% off for candy and grocery items). BUT, if you wait 7 to 10 days, products could drop to 70% off. Then, three to five days later, the remaining inventory will eventually drop to 90% off!

Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for “hidden” seasonal deals throughout the entire store, not just the Clearance sections! You can often find clearance prices on unmarked items in the grocery aisles, clothing section, and other departments. If you spot a seasonal item mixed in with regular items, be sure to scan it at the price checker to see if it is on sale.

11.) Stop at Bullseye’s Playground

You can find some great bargains at Bullseye’s Playground, which is usually located at the entrance to the store. Most items in this section are priced around $1-$3 and even these items get marked down during certain times of the year – possibly 50% to 70% off. That means you can pay as low as 30¢ to 50¢ each, or even less if there is an applicable coupon or Cartwheel offer that is valid on clearance!

12.) Bring Your Own Shopping Bag

Target Reusable Bags

As part of their reusable bag program, whenever you bring in your own reusable bag and make a purchase with it, all Target stores will credit you 5¢ for every single bag used at checkout. It’s not a huge money-saver but it can add up, especially if you’re making a large grocery purchase.

13.) Know the Price Match Guarantee

Guest Services

Hang onto your receipts! If you find a current lower price within 14 days after purchase, just bring in your receipt or method of payment and Target will adjust your payment to the lower price. Note that you cannot price match while using a Cartwheel offers, Target Gift Card offers, Registry completion coupons and Target coupons.

Target will even price match a total of 25 online competitors listed hereincluding Amazon.com, SamsClub.com, Walmart.com, and even Ulta.com. Plus, you can price match both at your local Target store AND online at Target.com (excluding clearance and other promotions). Also, price matches and adjustments to competitors will not be allowed for prices from Thanksgiving Day through the entire week after Thanksgiving.

Click HERE to view the Target Price Match Policy. It’s also a great idea to print a copy of the policy to bring with you to the store in case the cashier/manager has any questions.

14.) Sign up for a Baby, Wedding, or College Registry


Whenever you sign up for a Baby, College, or Wedding registry and add items to your list, you’ll often get coupons or discounts for shopping from your list. For a Wedding registry, you will receive two 15% off completion coupon offers for the items remaining on your registry. You will also receive four 15% off friends and family coupons two weeks after creating your registry to share for in-store shopping and a discount code for one online order.

Whenever you complete a Baby Registry, you can then head in store to score a FREE Welcome Gift with coupons, freebies and more – valued at $50! Plus, 8 weeks prior to your event date, you’ll receive a 15% off completion coupon offer for the items remaining on your registry and a coupon for in-store shopping, a discount code for one online order, and 4 friends and family coupons.

15.) Get a 1-Year Satisfaction Guarantee

If you’re not satisfied with any Target Owned Brand item (such as Archer Farms, Cat & Jack, Market Pantry, up & up, Xhilaration, and others listed here), you can return it within one year with a receipt for an exchange or a full refund. Plus, REDcard Debit and Credit cardholders will receive an extra 30 days to return nearly all items purchased with their REDcard at Target and Target.com.

If you don’t have a receipt, they can look up your receipt whenever you bring your item, government-issued photo ID (such as a driver’s license), and the method of payment used to the Guest Service desk within the return window allowed for that item.


If you’re a huge Chip and Joanna Gaines fan but don’t live near Waco, TX, you can now shop Hearth & Hand with Magnolia products exclusively at your local Target store and on Target.com! Be sure to check out Joanna’s favorites starting at just $4.99, as well as her how-to’s and know-how’s. Love!

Happy Shopping!

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Comments 39

  1. Scarlet B

    I <3 Target
    Also, I didn't know about the 1 year guarantee. Nice.

    • Melanie

      Me neither! Thanks for the heads up 😀

      • Mary (Stellar Sidekick)

        YW! 🙂

  2. Ashley

    I just got a graco double stroller that is regular $200 for $50 today at target!!

    • Thethreeofus

      Was it clearance do you have the code so I can see the price at my store I’m due in April and have a one year old so in need of one

      • Ashley

        I don’t have the number with me but my target had all kinds of baby things on clearance

        • Melanie

          The dcpi Number should be on your receipt. It’s usually the

        • Melanie

          It’s usually the first set of numbers next to the description on your receipt

    • Amber (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Awesome score!

  3. Weber14

    I didn’t know about the new gift card rule. I’ll have to be careful about getting the promo gift cards.

  4. TaraB

    My Target stores now have Yellow Clearance stickers without the drop% info on it now 🙁

    • Hudson

      Mine too 🙁

  5. acgold

    Any Target employees know why they changed the clearance tags to yellow?

    • Barry

      So the stores can get the best possible profit from the merchandise . Guest noticed the system in place and hq tweeked it. Company still makes profit on markdowns as well, just not the margins they would prefer. The color change was to freshen things up

    • dana

      Ours seem to be back to red now…

  6. Nicole

    It doesn’t matter what order you hand coupons over, the system automatically processes them in the right order now. It’s been like that since they got the new system.

  7. Monika Robinski

    The best way to save is not to get a red card and buy only things you need. I have a debt i cant seem to pay off and a bunch of junk that was on clearance. better to go minimalistic and avoid Target.

  8. cheezeheadtn

    Monika, if you shop there for anything, you might as well get the Debit Red Card… you won’t go into debt with it, and will automatically save 5% each and every time!

  9. Barry

    Just to update this story….Target is changing the color scheme of clearance! It is now yellow colored labels and signs being phased into stores

    • dana

      Ours are red again

  10. Mommyof5

    Thanks for sharing all these target hacks

    • Holly (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      You’re very welcome!

  11. Moni B.

    These are awesome tips!! Thank u for sharing them. Amazon & Target are my FAVES! 🙂

    • Amber (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      You’re so welcome!

  12. I❤Cats

    Question. Anyone else not able to take a screenshot of their cartwheel barcode?? I once HAD it via screenshot, but accidentally deleted it; tried to screenshot it & it says it’s protected 🙁 I’m thinking its so one can’t reuse ‘coupons’ on same screen, which I’m also unable to screenshot. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated, thank you!

    • Em

      It’s a new part of Targets new protection program. Just like the Access codes on GC’s needing to be typed in at self check or the register. We’ve had major coupon fraud with free items through people using cartwheel

    • Laura

      Try signing in from your computer into cartwheel and you can print the barcode. Not sure how well taking a picture of the barcode would be but at least you’ll have a copy of your barcode in case cartwheel doesn’t pull up in stores.

      • Maggie

        This works — I’ve had no problem using a printed bar code that I keep in my wallet (printed from the cartwheel website when I’m logged in). Sometimes I forget my phone, or the app won’t launch — I just pull the printed copy out of my wallet, and it scans easily. The only issue is to remind the cashier that it’s not a coupon, and I need it back!

        • *Angela-Miles*

          Ive done the same thing as Maggie. I printed off a barcode from the website and keep it in my purse. Whenever I do decide to go to Target, half the time my phone will die or something lol. So having it printed is really handy

    • I❤Cats

      Thank you for your feedback.

  13. Nick

    Are you sure that “the order that the savings will come off” is
    “2. Manufacturer’s Coupons
    3. Cartwheel Offers”
    I think CW comes off first in my Target purchases. No?

  14. Claudia

    Just so you all know, Target will not hold clearance merchandise. None of the ones in my area(Dallas,TX) will do it and they say it is the policy.

  15. Txmama

    Does anyone know, if i put my target card on the target app and pay thru that, will it keep a digital receipt on the app?

    • Julie

      You will still get a printed receipt if you put your card on the app. It will not keep a digital receipt

  16. marykatz

    Thank You so much for the great tips!!! You guys are awesome!!11

  17. Amanda S

    “Plus, REDcard Debit and Credit cardholders will receive an extra 30 days to return nearly all items purchased with their REDcard at Target and Target.com.”

    How long has this been a policy? I once tried to return something that was over the regular 90-day return policy but I think may have been within 120 days and I was not refunded the price I paid. I ended up returning without a receipt and getting back the lowest amount the item had been on sale in the last 90 days or whatever the policy is.

  18. dunkidsmom

    Nice to know about the 1 year guarantee. I just tried to return a 6 month old broken dog leash (with a receipt) but they said I was past the return date and wouldn’t even give credit for an even exchange. Next time I’ll have a copy of the store policy. Thanks for all the great tips!

  19. Judy Trac

    So many exclusions. I don’t want to spend 100+ at Target

  20. Daphne

    And if you have a Dirt Cheap near you, lots of their stuff comes from the Target dollar spot.

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